CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Arbitration Showdown: ... (02/05)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Y... (02/01)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Y... (02/08)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Comparin... (02/06)

February 5, 2013

Prospects Will Break Your Heart

Detroit Tigers Top 10 Prospects

by Jason Parks

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

State of the Farm: When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride ‘till I get to the bottom and I see you again.”

Prospect rankings primer

The Top Ten

  1. OF/IF Nick Castellanos
  2. OF Avisail Garcia
  3. RHP Bruce Rondon
  4. OF Danry Vasquez
  5. RHP Jake Thompson
  6. LHP Casey Crosby
  7. IF Eugenio Suarez
  8. CF Austin Schotts
  9. RF Steven Moya
  10.  2B Harold Castro

1. Nick Castellanos
Position: OF/IF
DOB: 03/04/1992
Height/Weight: 6’4’’ 210 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2010 draft, Archbishop McCarthy High School (Southwest Ranches, FL)
2012 Stats: .405/.461/.553 at High-A Lakeland (55 games); .264/.296/.382 at Double-A Erie (79 games)
The Tools: High-6 potential hit; 6 potential power; 6 arm

What Happened in 2012: Castellanos crushed it in High-A, before falling back to earth at the Double-A level, an advanced promotion for such a young player.

Strengths: Wiry strength on lengthy frame; room for additional strength; very fast bat; hands to command that bat; smooth trigger and bat path; stays in zone a long time; hit tool has well above-average potential; could develop into .300 hitter at highest level; line-drive stroke that could develop into above-average over-the-fence power in time; arm is stronger than people realize; easy 6 that can play in right field; good athlete; huge makeup.

Weaknesses: Double-A was huge test and exposed some weaknesses in present swing; struggled against arm-side pitching; expanded his zone and would chase; some question about pitch recognition and reaction; defensive profile is average at best; reads and routes in outfield still underdeveloped.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player

Explanation of Risk: Moderate risk; failed in first stop at Double-A level, but good baseball skills and plus work ethic.

Fantasy Future: Might not develop prototypical corner power, but should hit for a high batting average and doubles pop; over-the-fence power could arrive late.

The Year Ahead: A full season of Double-A ball is on tap, and given his skill-set, makeup, and adjustment ability, Castellanos should take a big step forward in 2013 and put himself in the discussion for the 25-man roster in 2014. He has a really sweet swing from the right side, and even though he has some length, he has shown the ability to square velocity and shorten up in two-strike counts. Good hitters are likely to develop power as they mature, and Castellanos fits into this category. It’s a line-drive stroke, but as he grows into his body and finds rhythm in his swing, the strength and bat speed are there to lift balls over the fence. This is a very, very good offensive prospect.

Major league ETA: 2014

2. Avisail Garcia
Position: OF
DOB: 06/12/1991
Height/Weight: 6’4’’ 240 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2007, Venezuela
2012 Stats: .289/.324/.447 at High-A Lakeland (67 games); .312/.345/.465 at Double-A Erie (55 games); .319/.373/.319 at major league level (23 games)

The Tools: 6 power potential; 7 arm; 6 run; 6 hit

What Happened in 2012: Garcia started the year playing in front of Florida State League crowds and finished the year on the biggest stage in baseball, getting six plate appearance in the World Series after hitting .455 in the ALCS.

Strengths: Massive size/strength; high-end athlete for such size; loud tools; good bat-to-ball skills; very read/react hitter with excellent hand-eye coordination; plus-plus raw power; easy 7 arm; 6 run; glove is above average; promising defensive profile.

Weaknesses: Aggressive approach; swing can get loose; prone to zone expansion and secondary exploitation; struggles when he works to the pull side; power utility is big question mark; hit tool could fold after book is written at highest level.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player

Explanation of Risk: Moderate risk; already achieved major-league success; should find sustainable home at highest level by 2014

Fantasy Future: Promising hit tool with secondary skills (speed/power); overall profile depends on power utility.

The Year Ahead: After a magical ride in 2012, Garcia will most likely start back in Triple-A, where he can continue the development of his bat against arms likely to utilize sequence. Sources were very mixed on his future, with some buying into the hit tool as a plus weapon and the power eventually finding its way into his game. Others weren’t sold on the hit tool, calling his approach into question and the fact that major-league arms will find a way to exploit his weaknesses. He’s a very large man with a very good tool set, and should eventually find a home in a major-league lineup. Whether he becomes a first-division masher or a second-division type depends on the game utility of the hit/power tools.

Major league ETA: 2012

3. Bruce Rondon
Position: RHP
DOB: 12/09/90
Height/Weight: 6’3’’ 265 (listed)
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2007, Venezuela
2012 Stats: 1.93 ERA (23.1 IP, 12 H, 34 K, 10 BB) at High-A Lakeland; 0.83 ERA (21.2 IP, 15 H, 23 H, 9 BB) at Double-A Erie; 2.25 ERA (8 IP, 5 H, 9 K, 7 BB) at Triple-A
Toledo
The Tools: 7+ FB; 5 potential CH; 5 SL

What Happened in 2012: Rondon exploded as a prospect, moving three levels and putting himself in a position to play a major role in the back of the major-league ‘pen in 2013.

Strengths: Starts and ends with his fastball; massive arm strength on a very large human; fastball has grade 8 velocity; routinely works in the upper 90s and can touch over 100 mph; plus-plus movement; explosive and late arm-side run; big intimidation factor; changeup is best secondary offering; average pitch profile that plays well off fastball with good arm-side action; will vary arm slot; good angle.

Weaknesses: Well-below average command profile; delivery is max effort and struggles to stay in rhythm; arm slot variations can throw off release points; slider is fringe offering; slides to the side of the ball and pitch saucers and sweeps across the zone.

Overall Future Potential: High 5; setup reliever

Explanation of Risk: Moderate risk; raw fastball is good enough for highest level, but command profile and secondary offerings are question marks.

Fantasy Future: Has big-time bat-missing potential; command will most likely keep him from excelling as a closer.

The Year Ahead: It must be a very challenging experience for a right-handed hitter to stand in the box against Rondon, his large frame casting a shadow over your confidence, as a 100 mph fastball bores into the numbers on your chest. It’s a high-leverage relief profile, but the command will have to improve to find success at the major-league level. If he can find a way to throw strikes, he’s a scary arm out of the bullpen. If not, well, he’ll still be a scary arm, but not on a level that will benefit the team.

Major league ETA: 2013

4. Danry Vasquez
Position: OF
DOB: 01/08/1994
Height/Weight: 6’3’’ 170 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2010, Venezuela
2012 Stats: .162/.218/.222 at Low-A Western Michigan (29 games); .311/.341/.401 at short-season Connecticut (72 games)
The Tools: 6 potential hit; 6 raw; 5 arm

What Happened in 2012: A false start in full-season ball was merely a minor roadblock, as the young Venezuelan showed off his offensive chops in the New York-Penn League, hitting over .300 in a solid 72-game sample.

Strengths: Highly projectable frame; could add weight/strength; whippy swing that shows impressive bat speed; natural hitting ability; it’s very easy; good present pop; good power projection; bat has the potential to play in corner.

Weaknesses: Overall profile dependent on offensive utility; arm is only average and better suited for left field; below-average run; lacks up the middle skill-set; doesn’t yet have a good plan at the plate; can chew fastballs, but struggled with secondary stuff and would chase.

Overall Future Potential: 5; solid-average major-league regular

Explanation of Risk: High risk; has yet to find stride at full-season level; huge pressure on bat; questions about approach.

Fantasy Future: Has plus potential hit tool and the type of swing that power eventually flows through; could hit .280-plus with 15-plus HR from left field defensive profile.

The Year Ahead: Vasquez just turned 19, and will take another swing at the full-season level. The ability to fail and respond to failure is paramount to future success, and the adjustments made after his initial failure in Low-A speak volumes about the makeup of the player. He’s a natural hitter with a projectable body, so if he grows into his frame and adds strength, the juice in the bat could make him a very good prospect. The defensive profile will play in left field, but the path to success is in the promise of the bat, and that could develop in a number of different ways.

Major league ETA: 2016

5. Jake Thompson
Position: RHP
DOB: 01/31/1994
Height/Weight: 6’4’’ 235 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 2nd round, 2012 draft, Rockwall-Heath High School (Heath, TX)
2012 Stats: 1.91 ERA (28.1 IP, 14 H, 31 K, 10 BB) at complex level GCL
The Tools: Plus potential FB; plus potential CB

What Happened in 2012: With a mature build and a lively fastball, it didn’t take the big Texan long to find professional success, missing more than a bat per inning at the complex level.

Strengths: Excellent size; impressive present strength; workhorse in the making; fastball will work low 90s; heavy sink; stays over the ball and can pound away in the strike zone; curveball shows above-average potential; can create good depth and a tight rotation; some feel for changeup; good command profile because of clean delivery.

Weaknesses: Not much projection in body; arsenal unlikely to feature impact offering; changeup is underdeveloped; will have to hit spots and keep the ball down for success; lacks the stuff to profile higher than 3/4 starter; moderate ceiling/low floor.

Overall Future Potential: 5; no. 3/4 starter

Explanation of Risk: High risk; mature build but arsenal is pedestrian at present; needs big jump in secondary arsenal.

Fantasy Future: Ceiling of league-average innings chewer; likely to be at mercy of defense behind him; lacks big put-out pitch

The Year Ahead: Because of his present fastball and mature physical standing, Thompson could make the jump to the full-season level in 2013. Although his profile lacks a sexy punch, his ability to throw strikes and work with a heavy low-90s fastball should allow for success even without a standout secondary offering. He does show some potential with the curveball, and has enough pitchability to bring promise to the changeup. He’s unlikely to develop into a big name prospect, but the name of the game is player and not prospect, and if he ends up as a middle-of-the-rotation workhorse at the major-league level, the Tigers would gladly take that with a smile.

Major league ETA: 2016

6. Casey Crosby
Position: LHP
DOB: 09/17/1988
Height/Weight: 6’5’’ 225 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/L
Drafted/Acquired: 5th round, 2007 draft, Kaneland High School (Maple Park, IL)
2012 Stats: 4.01 ERA (125.2 IP, 112 H, 112 K, 65 BB) at Triple-a Toledo; 9.49 ERA (12.1 IP, 15 H, 9K, 11 BB) at major-league level
The Tools: 6+ FB; 5 CB

What Happened in 2012: Different season, but same story for Crosby, who shows impressive velocity from the left side but suffers as a result of poor command.

Strengths: Great size; mature build; big arm strength; fastball is easy plus offering and can work 95+ in bursts; good angle and plane to plate; curveball plays as average offering; shows good shape and some depth; stuff will play better in the bullpen.

Weaknesses: Inconsistent mechanics; well below average command profile; struggles to throw strikes, much less quality strikes; curveball isn’t true plus offering; more flash than fire; changeup is below average.

Overall Future Potential: 5; back-end starter/setup reliever

Explanation of Risk: Moderate risk; pitched at major-league level; poor command, lack of secondary execution and injury history add to the risk.

Fantasy Future: Can miss bats with the fastball, so strikeouts are likely in any role; body to log innings, but command issues will limit potential in rotation.

The Year Ahead: Crosby has a major-league quality arm, but without better fastball command or secondary execution, the arsenal is unlikely to find sustainable success in a rotation. Out of the bullpen, his fastball could play as a 7 offering, but without consistent strike-throwing ability, he’s also unlikely to find success in high-leverage situations. Basically, the command needs to take a step forward or the impressive arm strength from the left side will be a waste.

Major league ETA: 2012

7. Eugenio Suarez
Position: IF
DOB: 07/18/1991
Height/Weight: 6’0’’ 180 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2008, Venezuela
2012 Stats: .288/.380/.409 at Low-A Western Michigan (135 games)
The Tools: 6 glove; 5 potential hit tool; 5 arm

What Happened in 2012: Making his full-season debut, the Venezuelan shortstop showed more stick and a better approach than expected, making him a legit prospect rather than just a guy to keep an eye on.

Strengths: Can play left-side defense; glove is solid-average to plus; arm is solid-average to plus; hands work well on both sides of the ball; hit tool shows solid-average potential; contact ability; brings a plan to the plate; solid run.

Weaknesses: Needs to add strength; swing is contact heavy, but contact can be soft; sources differ on shortstop skills; footwork isn’t crisp/fluid; lacks loud tools; offensive future a big question mark.

Overall Future Potential: 5; second-division player

Explanation of Risk: High risk; hasn’t played above Low-A; offensive/defensive question marks.

Fantasy Future: Contact type, with an approach; bat might be empty; could swipe a few bags; handle left side defensive assignment; limited impact potential.

The Year Ahead: Adding strength to the frame could give Suarez’s offensive profile an added dimension, as he can make contact but as he climbs that contact is likely to deflate. In High-A, he should be able to put together good at-bats and keep up the contact, but the real test will come in Double-A, where the stuff is better and low-ceiling bats are often exposed.

Major league ETA: 2015

8. Austin Schotts
Position: CF
DOB: 09/16/1993
Height/Weight: 5’11’’ 180 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 3rd round, 2012 draft, Centennial High School (Frisco, TX)
2012 Stats: .310/.360/.452 at complex level GCL (40 games); .333/.333/.333 at High-A Lakeland (2 games)
The Tools: 7 run; 5 glove; 5 potential hit

What Happened in 2012: The amateur shortstop made the transition to the outfield, where his instincts for the game and natural athleticism have a chance to play in the middle of the diamond.

Strengths: Plus athlete; legit baseball skills/instincts; run is 7; quick first step and excellent second gear; above-average potential on the glove; shows good bat-to-ball ability at the plate; good chance to develop secondary skills; good pitch-tracking skills; good situational hitter.

Weaknesses: Arm is fringe-average; still new to outfield, so reads/routes need work; might end up more slappy and contact-oriented at the plate; power is below average; some concerns that bat will underwhelm.

Overall Future Potential: 5; second-division player

Explanation of Risk: High risk; good makeup; feel for the game; complex-league resume (two games at High-A).

Fantasy Future: If he reaches his ceiling, will fit a prototypical leadoff profile, with plus-plus speed and contact ability at the plate; could be good for batting average and stolen bases.

The Year Ahead: Schotts can play the game, and with an advanced approach and feel, could jump to the full-season level in 2013. The transition to center from shortstop looked promising last season, and with another season of instruction and repetition under his belt, should continue to take steps forward. The kid can really run, so even soft contact could lead to a promising outcome, and if the bat plays better than expected, the Tigers just might have something in Schotts. 

Major league ETA: 2016

9. Steven Moya
Position: RF
DOB: 09/08/1991
Height/Weight: 6’7’’ 230 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Acquired: Non-drafted free agent, 2008, Puerto Rico
2012 Stats: .288/.319/.481 at Low-A Western Michigan (59 games)
The Tools: 8 raw; 6 arm

What Happened in 2012: A promising return to the Midwest League was cut short when the larger than average human outfielder required Tommy John on his throwing arm.

Strengths: Huge human; off-the-chart raw strength; raw power is 8; good athlete for size; in incredible physical shape; before surgery, arm was easy 6; enough run to handle right field; game power will make or break.

Weaknesses: Swing is leveraged and long; not quick or short to the ball; hit tool projects to be below average; 8 raw power, but unlikely to find that level of power utility; arm injury a question mark.

Overall Future Potential: 5; second-division player

Explanation of Risk: High risk; power is boom or bust

Fantasy Future: Power could be very big, but unlikely to hit for average and won’t be a stolen base threat.

The Year Ahead: Currently ahead of schedule in rehab, Moya will look to return to the field at some point in early 2013, most likely starting at the team complex before making the leap to the High-A level when the arm is ready for game action. Moya is a very large man with very large power, and the makeup reports are equally as large; sources just love to talk about this kid. The profile is boom or bust, and it’s completely dependent on the power utility. If he can hit enough to let the power play in game action, he could hit 25-plus_homers, although it will come with a low batting average and a very deep bucket of strikeouts. But 80 raw power is a fun thing to dream on, and if you like heroic batting practice displays, get to the park early when Moya is in the lineup. Don’t park anywhere near the outfield fences.

Major league ETA: 2016

10. Harold Castro
Position: 2B
DOB: 11/30/1993
Height/Weight: 6’0’’ 145 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2010, Venezuela
2012 Stats: .311/.343/.420 at complex-level GCL (51 games)
The Tools: 6 potential hit; 5 glove; 5+ run

What Happened in 2012: Making his stateside debut after an impressive Venezuelan Summer League campaign, Castro didn’t miss a beat, continuing to receive praise for his precocious hit tool.

Strengths: Natural bat-to-ball ability; great hands; very easy to the ball; can already use the entire field; just a hitter; arm is a 5 at second; glove should be a 5; above-average runner at present; should be consistent 6 runner with more strength.

Weaknesses: Right side defensive profile; physically underdeveloped at present; excellent hitter, but doesn’t pack a power punch; unlikely to develop power; struggled to barrel up arm-side pitching

Overall Future Potential: 5; second-division player

Explanation of Risk: High risk; limited professional experience; right side profile puts pressure on bat to reach ceiling.

Fantasy Future: Contact hitter with speed; won’t be a power threat, but with added strength could turn contact into consistent hard contact.

The Year Ahead: While he shows an aptitude for the game and a promising hit tool, Castro will most likely start the season in extended spring training before taking the step to the New York-Penn League.  He’s likely to keep putting the bat to the ball, but with better pitching will come bigger challenges, and without added strength, his line-drive stroke might fail to produce line drives. It will be interesting to see how he develops, as the defensive limitations put a ton of pressure on the bat, but guys with carrying hit tools find a way to play at the highest level.

Major league ETA: 2017

Prospects on the Rise:

1. RHP Brenny Paulino: On the injury shelf in 2012, Paulino will look to find a way back into the prospect spotlight in 2013. He’s currently rehabbing the arm, and without a concrete timetable for his return, it’s impossible to speculate on his performance. But a healthy Paulino is a top-five prospect in this system, and if the loose and lightning fast arm he showed in 2011 is the same in 2013, the Tigers system will receive a much needed high-ceiling talent injection.

2. RHP Endrys Briceno: Soon-to-be 21-year-old Venezuelan (of course) arm that hasn’t lived up to potential, but has the raw qualities to jump up prospect rankings if he can put the package together. With plus-plus arm strength and a playing catch release, the low-to-mid 90s fastball just explodes from his hand and gives him a true weapon in the arsenal. He shows some secondary feel, but has yet to find his rhythm. With added strength and another season under his belt, Briceno might be ready to take a big step forward in 2013.

3. C Franklin Navarro: The 18-year-old Venezuelan (of course) is set to make his stateside debut in 2013, and the reports on the bat from his 62-game run through the VSL were very promising. He’s raw in all phases of the game, especially behind the plate, but a young catcher that can hit will turn heads, and Navarro will get a chance to throw his hat into the prospect ring in the Gulf Coast League.

Factors on the Farm (Prospects likely to contribute at the ML level in 2013

1. 2B Jeff Kobernus: A rule-5 pick from the Nationals, Kobernus isn’t going to change a team’s fate with a first-division contribution, but with good fundamental play, good speed, and some situational hitting ability, the 24-year-old infielder has a chance to contribute to the 25-man roster in 2013.

2. C Bryan Holaday: Prospects that profile as backup catchers never get the love, but their contribution to the major-league team can make them extremely valuable players, especially when they are under team control for six seasons. Holaday’s bat isn’t going to play at a high level, and at best he’ll be a down-the-lineup, once-a-week backup, but the glove and the intangible qualities he brings to the table should be enough to keep him at the level.

3. RHP Michael Morrison: While its unlikely that Morrison emerges as a back end of the ‘pen weapon, the 25-year-old can miss bats and has a chance to pitch in relief at the major-league level. With a wiggly fastball that can touch the mid-90s and an average slider that can puff out its chest from time to time, Morrison should be able to make it work if he can just throw more strikes.

Top 10 Talents 25 And Under (born 4/1/87 or later)

  1. Nick Castellanos
  2. Avisail Garcia
  3. Rick Porcello
  4. Drew Smyly
  5. Bruce Rondon
  6. Danry Vasquez
  7. Jake Thompson
  8. Casey Crosby
  9. Eugenio Suarez
  10. Austin Schotts

For several years it has been widely agreed that the Tigers have one of the worst minor-leagues systems in the game. Yet during that same span the Tigers have seen numerous prospects impact the big club or depart via trade to help the club. That list includes guys like Brennan Boesch, Andy Dirks, Jacob Turner, Francisco Martinez, Rob Brantly, Al Alburquerque and Brayan Villarreal

The consistent arrival of players that contribute in the big leagues seems to fly in the face of the commonly held opinion of their farm system. It’s easy to look at the Tigers top 10 list and come to the conclusion that it’s a poor system; in fact, it flat out is poor. That said, I have little doubt they will get contributions from several players on that list, including the top three and possibly left-hander Casey Crosby in 2013.

When the frame of reference expands to include players under 25 years old, the overall tenor does not change in spite of the club’s success in recent years. While players like Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Max Scherzer, and Austin Jackson are all relatively young, they are all older than 25. The only two players that factor into this expanded list are starting pitchers Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly.

Porcello borders on criminally underrated at this point, possibly the victim of excessive expectations upon his arrival in the big leagues. Without the ability to spin a consistent breaking ball, Porcello has failed to reach the mid-rotation ceiling that was once considered his floor. Instead he is a back-end starter. He is extremely durable and keeps his team in the game.

Porcello’s primary competition for the fifth spot in the Tigers rotation is left-hander Drew Smyly. A player of similar upside to Porcello, Smyly owns a broader arsenal and brings it from the left side. His history of injuries leaves some scouts wondering if he can handle 25-30 starts a year in the big leagues and gives the Tigers good reason to maintain some depth.

In the end, it’s a good thing the Tigers have a wealth of talent in the 26-to-30-year-old range because there is little on the way to carry the roster otherwise. The Tigers will be extremely competitive over the next few years but it is unlikely to be the result of significant contributions from young newcomers to the roster —Mark Anderson

A Parting Thought: The system is among the worst in the league, mostly a result of college-heavy drafting and the willingness to trade prospects for players, but as long as the Venezuelan pipeline is still open, the Tigers have a chance to take huge steps forward in a very short amount of time.

Last year's Tigers rankings

Special thanks to Mark Anderson, Nick Faleris, and Hudson Belinsky for their input and influence on this list.

Jason Parks is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jason's other articles. You can contact Jason by clicking here

41 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Eddie Bajek

Good to see Mark was able to finagle his guy Castro onto the back end of this list!

Lots of mention of the Venezuela pipeline in this piece. If that pipeline dries up as a result of the political climate, how screwed are the Tigers?

Feb 05, 2013 03:48 AM
rating: 0
 
SC

Whatever happens politically in Venezuela seems unlikely to impact the small number of baseball players who find their way into the US. I suppose if there's massive civil unrest it could be unsafe for scouts and organized baseball at the youth level could collapse making talent evaluation challenging, but that's a pretty far fetched scenario given the economic interests seeking to prevent that outcome.

Feb 05, 2013 08:35 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I disagree. The political and economic climate of Venezuela has already persuaded several teams to vacate their complexes in the region. While high-end talent will find a way to be scouted--either by other teams in the region or in showcases in other locations--any form of diminished focus will result in a form of diminished acquisition.

Feb 05, 2013 08:49 AM
 
Eddie Bajek

Market inefficiency? The Tigers didn't get heavily involved in Venezuela until 2005 and now are one of four teams left. Now their system is being kept afloat by Venezuela.

Feb 05, 2013 09:23 AM
rating: 1
 
rrvwmr

Castellanos had 340+ plate appearances at AA to make adjustments. In his last 102 at bats he hit .186 (25% K%). He followed that up in the AFL hitting .240 and striking out at a 28% clip. I have seen as high as 70 futures grades on his hit tool, but I just don't see it.

Feb 05, 2013 04:58 AM
rating: 0
 
Eddie Bajek

He was 20 in AA in his second full season. If you are going to write him off after 340 plate appearances, go right ahead. But first I'd recommend talking to scouts to see if he was indeed over matched, or just going through the fatigue that guys his age go through this early in their careers.

Feb 05, 2013 06:29 AM
rating: 3
 
dwinning

I don't know man, if a 20 year old kid doesn't immediately destroy AA, he's probably garbage. Anyone can put up a 1000 OPS in the FSL.

Feb 05, 2013 06:42 AM
rating: 2
 
DeathSpeculum

he's no addison russell, that's for sure. ;)

Feb 05, 2013 09:30 AM
rating: 1
 
rrvwmr

Eddie, The first 3 sentences of my comment are pure fact, nothing else. The 70 future grade (Baseball America) is fact as well. You are free to disagree w/ the last 5 words, but I will say your assumption that I am not informed is incorrect. I'd be happy to wager a beer on whether Nick hits over .265 for his career. I'll take the under. Let's revisit this in 3-20 years.

Feb 05, 2013 07:53 AM
rating: 0
 
Eddie Bajek

Sounds good.

Feb 05, 2013 07:56 AM
rating: 1
 
rrvwmr

Of the 25 qualified MLB players that hit .300 (admittedly somewhat arbitrary) this year, only 1 struck out more than 23% of the time (Dexter Fowler .300, 24.2 K%), but he did it with a .390 BABIP. None of those 25 players struck out 20% of the time while in AA. There will certainly be examples that disprove this, but the distribution is not favorable.

Feb 05, 2013 08:51 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Scouting by numbers is not a good way of grading a hit tool. He's tot a finished product. He has a long way to go to reach his potential. But the necessary characteristics are there.

Feb 05, 2013 08:04 AM
 
dwinning

It's not a good system, but not bad considering the Tigers haven't actually had a pick in the first round of the draft since 2009.

Feb 05, 2013 06:40 AM
rating: 2
 
jedjethro

Jason, what are your thoughts on pitcher Adam Wilk, who signed on to play in Korea this season?

Feb 05, 2013 06:40 AM
rating: 0
 
champaigncaviar

Well, the Tigers sold him to Korea. That should probably give you a clue as to his (lack of) MLB potential.

Feb 05, 2013 22:57 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Mark Anderson
BP staff

Wilk is the very definition of a soft-tossing left. He scrapes 90 mph with his fastball, has a solid-average change-up that is a decent second pitch. His breaking ball lacks snap and that really hurts his profile. He lacks the stuff to work through a lineup multiple times and his lack of a quality breaker keeps him from profiling as a left-on-left reliever. He was an up-and-down guy for me prior to his departure.

Feb 07, 2013 13:47 PM
 
cdgarosi

265 (listed). Maybe on the moon.

Feb 05, 2013 07:24 AM
rating: 5
 
Deech

Tyler Collins might be all bat, but his K/BB combination is elite (10.7% BB and 11.8 K%) and he has raw BP power. 5 of his 7 home runs came in the second half while keeping his rate stats. Just 22 starting the year at AA, I think he's a big oversight on this list.

Feb 05, 2013 08:00 AM
rating: 1
 
Deech

also, 2012 was his first season at pro and he was assigned straight to A+ where he was 21/22 and had a 129 OPS+, bat seems legit (at least MLB average), potentially more if he taps into power

Feb 05, 2013 08:02 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

We had a role 4 evaluation on him.

Feb 05, 2013 08:05 AM
 
DetroitDale

So, is the deficiency in the system largely because of the aforemented picks lost as free agent compensation, prospects traded for players and emphasis on drafting college players sufficient explanation for the system's low rankings or are there deficiencies with the scouting or coaching? If so which ones?

This system was devasted during the Monaghan/Randy Smith era and was rebuilt by drafting a lot of hard to sign guys who fell and offered more than slot. Now that that maneuver is no longer available, is it possible to rebuild the system before it's needed to replace a large number of guys on the main club?

Feb 05, 2013 08:57 AM
rating: 0
 
andrews

Isn't a big reason that the Tigers haven't traded a high value player for prosects for a long time?

Feb 05, 2013 09:18 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Losing picks is certainly an issue, but talent doesn't cease to exist beyond the first round of the draft. Approach is certainly a culprit as well; the Tigers of recent years have been heavy on the college talent at the expense of high-ceiling/high-risk high school talent. Scouts are tasked with identifying the talent, but the front office pulls the string on the deal. On the developmental front, you can't turn a low-ceiling college player into a high-ceiling talent through the magic of instruction. While some orgs are better than others, player development starts with talent.

Feb 05, 2013 09:20 AM
 
Eddie Bajek

So the players who would still be on this list if not traded are... Rob Brantly, Jacob Turner, Brian Flynn, and Francisco Martinez. Add them and the list is better, still bad, but better and deeper.

Feb 05, 2013 09:33 AM
rating: 0
 
andrews

Agreed and hypothetically imagine if the Tigers had traded verlander or Scherzer for prospects last July the list would be better still.
As they're a perenial contender in a weak division they've been sapped rather than boosted by their trading activity.

Feb 05, 2013 09:38 AM
rating: 0
 
sgrcuts

This is one of the most meaningless points I've ever read. Imagine if they traded Verlander? Contending has not stopped the Rays, Rangers, Cardinals and so on from developing a system. Imagine the Yanks traded Cano or CC! Totally meaningless.

Feb 05, 2013 12:10 PM
rating: 0
 
sandriola

Do you feel we'll see a change in draft strategy as the core of the major league roster ages? Will they resist the urge to take the large, right-handed power pitchers and instead focus on overall talent to rebuild the system?

Feb 05, 2013 10:08 AM
rating: 0
 
BayCityM

As a Tigers fan, I hope so!

Feb 05, 2013 10:49 AM
rating: 0
 
DetroitDale

If anything, I would think an aging core would increase the urge to draft quick developing college kids over the high ceiling high schoolers who need more development time. If they are too impatient now for raw prospects holes in the main team aren't going to enhance patience. The entire team is focused on winning now to the exclusion of any future considerations. This will be a problem when the pizza money dries up.

Feb 05, 2013 19:50 PM
rating: 0
 
sandriola

But the addition of talent doesn't have to be high-ceiling high schoolers, either. They took a high school kid last year with their first pick. It's just that a lot of the picks seem to be the hard throwing righties that DD and David Chadd love. They need more diversification with their top draft picks, especially those in the first round.

Also, they haven't had a first round pick since 2009, when they selected Jacob Turner with the 9th pick. Yes, they could have a better development record, but they need to be able to have the chance to pick the better talent. Hopefully their decision to avoid Soriano this year was partially driven by the potential loss of their first round pick.

I agree that the team has been extremely focused on winning at the major league level, probably to a fault. However, I think it's also too early to look too far ahead at what may come from the farm system. I feel confident that players will be moved as needed to ensure a competitive product in Detroit, which is really the ultimate goal of the organization (at least this one).

Feb 05, 2013 20:09 PM
rating: 0
 
dwinning

"winning at the major league level" is the ONLY THING THAT MATTERS.

Feb 06, 2013 05:44 AM
rating: 3
 
DetroitDale

That's true as far as it goes, however a solid farm system that produces good players on a regular basis is an essential part of of winning at the major league level. The team cannot continue buying up free agents at every position. Eventually arbitration and free agency will make this team too expensive to keep together and when it does they will need more than they have in the minors. For now ilitch is willing to subsidize with pizza money, but that will not last forever.


Feb 07, 2013 13:35 PM
rating: 0
 
DetroitDale

Valid points re high school v. College. I seized on that because Jason stressed that as a main cause of the system's lower ranking. I'm tend to disagree that drafting an excess of arms is a bad strategy. Its much easier to trade surplus pitchers for hitters than vice versa (the 90s Indians tried it that way and didn't get as far despite a higher number of guys panning out). The only reason it didn't work better here is a lot of guys got hurt, a lot didn't pan out and a lot of guys never got drafted beacause of lost picks. These factors would have doomed a balanced approach just as surely, perhaps even moreso

Feb 07, 2013 13:49 PM
rating: 0
 
BayCityM

It will be interesting to see what they do if they ever get a first round draft pick again.

Feb 05, 2013 10:50 AM
rating: 1
 
gweedoh565

FYI on the Top 10 Prospects index page (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/), Avisail Garcia is listed as the Tigers #1 prospect (as opposed to Castellanos here)

Feb 05, 2013 12:59 PM
rating: 0
 
juiced

When your best pitching prospect projects as a set up guy that's a weak system.

Feb 05, 2013 19:03 PM
rating: 0
 
DarinRuf18

whats the most significant difference between Rondon and Kimbrel when he was in the minors. Was there a similar fear that Kimbrel wouldnt be able to throw enough strikes to excel as a closer?

Feb 06, 2013 09:08 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mark Anderson
BP staff

There was that fear. The biggest difference for me is the quality of the slider. Kimbrel's slider was fantastic; Rondon's inconsistent, though it flashes in the above-average to plus range on occasion.

Feb 07, 2013 13:48 PM
 
hyprvypr

Garcia almost seems to be a monster in the making. Potentially four plus tools, two of them maybe plus-plus on a huge bodied/strong kid who's athletic and hitting in the high majors at 21 years old. I understand there's a big difference between raw power and game power, but if he can translate most of his raw power into game power and still hit .270+, isn't this an all-star calibur player?

Sorry Jason, I don't mean to be critisizing, but at my novice glance, it just looks like a potential explosion to me.

Feb 06, 2013 09:56 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I think there are too many doubts about the power to find comfort in an all-star ceiling. His approach could be a problem, and based on the characteristics of the swing coupled with that approach, the huge raw power might remain at rest at the highest level. Wide range of opinion on this kid. Some see a first-division talent while others don't even see a major league regular (because of approach/utility). I'm very curious to see what happens in '13. I'd love to see him blossom into more than I gave him credit for.

Feb 06, 2013 10:12 AM
 
hyprvypr

Thanks Jason for the explanation. I think I understand now it's a bit of a Bubba Starling 2012 situation(poor man's version) where scouts need to see more of the tools/approach before they're ready to slap the star in the making label. That is to say he has very large upside but also potentially 'doesn't get it'/4A characteristics as well and may never be more than a support piece. Elite potential maybe if everything clicks...

Feb 06, 2013 10:49 AM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article Arbitration Showdown: ... (02/05)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Y... (02/01)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Y... (02/08)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Comparin... (02/06)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Wednesday, May...
Premium Article Painting the Black: Stealing Signs
Fantasy Rounders: Statistical Crossroads
Eyewitness Accounts: May 28, 2015
Premium Article Pitching Backward: Started From the Bottom, ...
Premium Article The Call-Up: Eduardo Rodriguez
Premium Article Some Projection Left: Ask the Industry: Catc...

MORE FROM FEBRUARY 5, 2013
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: An Expensive Lowrie
Baseball ProGUESTus: Many Days in the Life o...
Premium Article Skewed Left: The Best Ways to Bet at the Bal...
Punk Hits: Top Team Cookbooks, Part 2
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Tuesday, February 5
Fantasy Article Fantasy Fallout
Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Relievers for 2/5/2013

MORE BY JASON PARKS
2013-02-15 - Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Baltimore O...
2013-02-12 - Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Tampa Bay R...
2013-02-08 - Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Los Angeles...
2013-02-05 - Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Detroit Tig...
2013-02-01 - Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: St. Louis C...
2013-01-28 - Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Los Angeles...
2013-01-25 - Transaction Analysis: Justin Upton Trade-Rum...
More...

MORE PROSPECTS WILL BREAK YOUR HEART
2013-02-15 - Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Baltimore O...
2013-02-12 - Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Tampa Bay R...
2013-02-08 - Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Los Angeles...
2013-02-05 - Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Detroit Tig...
2013-02-01 - Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: St. Louis C...
2013-01-28 - Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Los Angeles...
2013-01-22 - Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Chicago Whi...
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2013-12-02 - Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Detroit Tig...
2013-08-19 - Fantasy Article Five to Watch: Post-Hype Prospects for 2014
2013-07-31 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Breaking Down the Thre...
2013-07-18 - What Scouts Are Saying: July 18, 2013
2013-03-29 - Prospects Will Break Your Heart: 2013 Organi...
2013-03-06 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Setting Sail with Sale
2013-03-05 - Premium Article MLBDepthCharts: Detroit Tigers
2013-02-25 - Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Top 101 Pro...